The Green Scare: Islamophobia, Foreign Policy, and the Making of American Identity
For more on this topic, see Unpacking the Effects of Islamophobia
Contribution and importance
The making of national identities
The production of danger
In securitization theory, “security” is not treated as an objective condition but as the outcome of a specific social process: the social construction of security issues (who or what is being secured, and from what) is analyzed by examining the “securitizing speech acts” through which threats become represented and recognized. Issues become “securitized,” treated as security issues, through these speech acts which do not simply describe an existing security situation, but bring it into being as a security situation by successfully representing it as such.20
The foundation for securitizing Islam
In order to trace the lineage of European and American governments which have constituted the order of social life for those stronger and nobler races which have made the most notable progress in civilization, it is essential to know the political history of the Greeks, the Latins, the Teutons, and the Celts principally…29
The system [i.e., Islam] is, indeed, in essence, military. The creed is a war cry. The reward of a Paradise of maidens for those who die in battle, and loot for those who live, and the joy of battle and domination thrills the tribal Arabs. The discipline of prayer five times a day is a drill. The muezzin cry from the minaret is a bugle-call. The equality of the Brotherhood gives the equality and esprit de corps of the rank and file of the army. The Koran is army orders. It is all clear, decisive, ordained—men fused and welded by the fire and discipline into a single sword of conquest.30
The Green Scare replaces the Red Scare
It should by now be clear that we are facing a movement far transcending the level of issues and policies and the governments that pursue them. This is no less than a clash of civilizations – the perhaps irrational but surely historic reaction of an ancient rival against our Judeo-Christian heritage, our secular present, and the worldwide expansion of both.38
The great division among humankind and the dominant source of conflict will be cultural. Nation-states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.39
The American people breathed a sigh of relief when the Cold War ended a decade ago. […] And there was a temptation to believe that this favorable circumstance was a permanent condition. On September 11th, America learned that it was not. The September 11th attacks have awakened us to a fundamental reality: […] This threat is as great as any we faced during the Cold War.41
9/11 and American identity
Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.
I ask you to uphold the values of America and remember why so many have come here… Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger, we have found our mission and our moment. Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom, the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time, now depends on us.
Our people are united; our government is determined … I applaud the American people for your courage in a time of trial. We’re living through a unique moment in American history. This is a time of rediscovery of heroism and sacrifice and duty and patriotism. These are core values of our country, and they’re being renewed… Our forefathers would be proud, really proud of what they see in America today.49
An Islamophobic foreign policy
I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.
The strategy of labeling
The strategy of depoliticization
[Osama bin Laden] never talks about our freedoms, Hollywood, Madonna. You know feminism, homosexuality, the drug and alcohol culture in the West. He never talks about our culture as a reason for attacking us. And in fact, in one of the most recent statements he made, he said, look, I didn‘t attack Sweden, meaning that it is not—I‘m not attacking liberal permissive societies. I‘m attacking the United States for its foreign policies, and obviously when I say that, I‘m not saying that he is in any way justified, but that that is his rationale.69
The strategy of conflation
… accept no god before themselves. And they reserve a special hatred for the most ardent defenders of liberty, including Americans and Israelis. And that is why the founding charter of Hamas calls for the “elimination” of Israel. And that is why the followers of Hezbollah chant “Death to Israel, Death to America!” That is why Osama bin Laden teaches that “the killing of Jews and Americans is one of the biggest duties.” And that is why the President of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages and calls for Israel to be wiped off the map.82